Parenting wellness: Take a night off
1 Dec 2020 LIFESTYLE
By: Natasha Archary
Moms and dads need a social life. To stay sane. To find inner tranquility in order to deal with 36-hour days. To exchange war stories with fellow parents. To let off some steam.
Right. Now that we’ve given you ample time to read through the opening again and make sense of it (we know you only managed 4 hours of sleep last night), let us tell you why you need to allow yourself some time off kiddy duty.
The brink of exhaustion
Parental burnout is a real thing. Hands up if you’re feeling this. Or you know just keep reading. In a survey of over 2 000 parents, in Belgium, researchers found that just as likely as it is to burnout from being overworked, moms and dads can burn out too.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, found that close to 13% of the parents surveyed, 12.9% of mothers and 11.6% of fathers, had what the researchers called “high burnout.”
Most parents today find the pressure to juggle it all insurmountable. With little to no support from the other biological parent, family or friends. It’s not easy raising a child and still function optimally at the office. Parenting is a 24/7 role. Even when the kids are at school, there’s stuff you need to take care of that relates to them.
Payments. Scheduling doctor appointments. Finding aftercare. Affording aftercare. Getting groceries. Parent-teacher meetings. School bake sales. Extra mural calendars. Can you spell exhaustion?
READ: Conscious parenting
Mental health is a major factor. It’s just still one of those things we overlook as adults. As parents, a little more selflessly because the focus is on those little people we’re doing it all for. They make it all worth it. And yes, those clichéd parenting quips are semi-inspiring to a mom or dad who’s just pulled an all-nighter but we need to stop doing that.
We make it difficult for parents who are not coping to reach out and admit that they’re not. In other words, these parents felt exhausted, less productive and emotionally withdrawn for at least a week, but say nothing.
Take a night off
It may not solve all your parenting dilemmas but some time off can help. Taking a breather from the reality of overdue bills and figuring out this “adulting thing”, we also call life, may provide temporary solace.
Hand over the parenting baton at least once a week and focus that energy on yourself. Even if all it means is thirty minutes of uninterrupted time to take a bubble bath. Parents fail to understand that they cannot pour from a cup that has a crack in it.
This is profound because day in and day out, we selflessly give off ourselves to put our kids first, without stopping to check if we’re okay, emotionally, physically, mentally.